The coordinator of BE, Catarina Martins, today classified the largest shareholder of Groundforce, Alfredo Casimiro, as “an obstacle to any solution”, whereas privatization has left the country in the “hands of unscrupulous entrepreneurs”.

Questioned about the strike of Groundforce workers that started today, the blockista leader considered that it is not possible “telling workers that they are essential and then not paying them wages”.

Catarina Martins considered that the employees of the ‘handling’ company “are absolutely right” and classified the situation as “unsustainable”.

“TAP has been allowing Groundforce to pay salaries, the private owner of Groundforce is an obstacle to any solution that is made”, he added, adding that “this is one of the examples of the disaster that is for a country to privatize a strategic sector or offer it, as is the case with Groundforce, and then remain in the hands of unscrupulous entrepreneurs”.

The Groundforce strike caused the cancellation of 274 flights at Portuguese airports so far, of which 242 in Lisbon, according to ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal.

“Due to the strike in Groundforce’s ‘handling’ services, 107 arrivals and 135 departures have been canceled so far at Lisbon airport”, said an official source from the infrastructure manager, adding that companies operating with other transport companies ground assistance, as well as those operating at Terminal 2 at Lisbon airport, “keep their operation”.

According to the airport manager’s latest update, nine arrivals and nine departures at Porto Airport, three arrivals and three departures at Faro Airport, two arrivals and two departures at Madeira Airport and also two arrivals and two departures at the Airport were also canceled of Porto Santo.

ANA asks passengers with flights scheduled for today and Sunday to inform themselves about their status before traveling to the airport.

Today is the first day of the strike called by the Union of Airport Handling Technicians (STHA), as a protest for the “unsustainable instability, regarding the timely payment of wages and other pecuniary components” that Groundforce workers face since February 2021.

The stoppage will last for 18 and 31 July, 1 and 2 August, which led ANA to warn of constraints at national airports, cancellations and delays on flights assisted by Groundforce, at the airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro , Funchal and Porto Santo.

In addition to this strike, since July 15th, Groundforce workers are also carrying out an overtime strike, which lasts until midnight on October 31st, 2021.

Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which, in 2020, became 72.5% owned by the Portuguese State.

OE2022: BE says that “it would be a mistake” Government intransigence in social support

BE guaranteed this Saturday that it is available to negotiate a State Budget for 2022 (OE2022) “that responds to the country’s problems”, adding that “it would be a mistake” if the Government were intransigent on social support.

“The Left Block decides to maintain its availability to negotiate a SO2022 that responds to the country’s problems, with priority to employment, health and social support”, said the party coordinator, Catarina Martins, in a press conference at the end of a meeting of the Mesa Nacional, in Lisbon.

However, the blocist leader said that “it would be a mistake if the Government maintained an intransigent position on social support, at a time when the country is suffering so much”.

Catarina Martins maintained that “life has shown that the State Budget that was approved last year did not respond” to the areas “that are the center of the response to the crisis”.

“Everyone has already realized that precarious work areas in our country, such as tourism, will not recover this summer and, in fact, the Government itself this year recognized that the State Budget was insufficient, it did not respond ”, he added, alluding to the norms of diplomas that reinforced social support, approved by the parliament, which, despite the Constitutional Court’s (TC) declaration of unconstitutionality, the Government announced that it would maintain.

In the view of Catarina Martins, the next State Budget has to go “where the last one did not go” and the socialist executive has to act “very quickly in terms of social support”.

Asked when negotiations between the Government and the party start, the BE coordinator replied that “if the Government wants to make the dates public, it will make the dates public”.

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